President Trump has been floating the Republican governor of Maine as a candidate to run for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, in the 2018 election, according to a new report.
Trump has discussed Gov. Paul LePage with White House advisers and said he plans to call LePage about the race and that he would offer his endorsement if LePage opted to run.
White House officials have already been in contact with LePage’s political team, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
LePage was brought up when the White House conducted a meeting concerning Senate candidates on Tuesday.
“The president is actively engaged in fundraising, candidate recruitment and other efforts to help elect Republicans up and down the ballot,” said Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, but did not address discussions specifically related to LaPage.
LePage is a controversial figure in Maine, with an approval rating of 42 percent in the state — the seventh least popular governor in the U.S., according to the Morning Consult. He has made insensitive comments about minorities and told a lawmaker he was “after” him in a voicemail message.
He also has referred to out-of-state drug dealers with names like “D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty," and said they come to Maine and often “impregnate a young white girl."
King previously served as Maine's governor and, as an independent senator, caucuses with the Democrats.